Steve Barancik (It's my site!)



Hey, everyone. I'm rather excited about this. Writer-visitors have been asking for a community aspect to the site for years, and finally I've got something to offer!

I plan to participate a lot here. Brainstorming other writer's problems has always been one of my talents. I'm much better with brewing up ideas for other people's stories than I am my own! (This is why, in Hollywood, instead of being a writer I probably should have been a producer. Oh, well.)

Just so you know, one of my favorite pages on the site is about my own solutions for writer's block, born of working with some of the finest story minds in the movie business. And hey: these ideas work on any form of fiction.

The page has plenty of ideas, and if those aren't enough, you'll find links to my ebooks as well.

Finally, I want to say something about the benefit as a writer of owning one's own website...

I hate downtime. I support myself with my writing, so there's nothing worse to me than spending a whole day (or more!) trying to pound through writer's block and get my story moving again.

That is why I love having a site. On any given day there are an infinite number of different writing assignments I can give myself, so if I'm stuck on one thing I go to another.

I use a suite of software tools that perform at their core something called "keyword research." Keyword research tells me what information people are using the search engines to find in my chosen niche: children's books.

Essentially, my keyword research spits out a list of subjects to write about! That's right...a whole roster of writing assignments that need doing. I pick one for the day and do it!

If that sounds like heaven, I recommend reading this: Get your writing assignments here.

(Have I mentioned I make good money doing this?)

Well, I hope you posted a writer's block problem or offered your opinion on someone else's, and I hope you subscribed to The Writer's Block Writers Forum. See you around!


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Diana Lynn Patillo

by D.L. Patillo
(Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, United States)



I am a children's book self-published author.

My first book is entitled, "Jessie's World, The New Baby". My second book is entitled, "Jessie's World, Mommy's Lil' Helper."

I wrote this children's book as a series for two reasons. The first reason was because so many of my friends were going to middle child issues with their children or children that were transitioning from only child to big brothers and sisters. This book was to give a lighter side to help parents read with and to their children about how it was ok to feel the way they do.

My second reason for writing the book was to relive the memories of my children in print. It was just a plus that in a small way I could help young parents and their children adjust to and accept their younger siblings and still feel just as loved as before in their new roles.

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My name is Shirley

(Wildomar, CA)

Basically I want to write a children's book. I have always wanted to write. I just do not know where to start.

I am a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 5, ages 10 to 1 year old. I am trying to figure out what to write about. Any help to get started will be very appreciated.

Thank you.

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Start by reading!
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Shirley, the best way to start writing is to immerse yourself in reading the kind of work you want to write!

Look to your Grandchildren
by: Kai

Is there somthing your young Grandchildren love to do but mess up, or is there somthing they 'should' do but don't. Is there a way they can have more fun, what is somthing that catches their eye when they go for a walk, or a drive in the car.
Relax and let it come. One morning, or one day at the grocery store or some such thing an idea will pop into your head. Follow it :) and have fun!!

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Janeen Eckhart

I'm the first person who posted! No one can ever take that away from me.


Okay, I'm just someone who is 27, has a real job (ugh) and wishes I had my dream job: writing YA novels.

Also, I have to say that I think this forum is a BRILLIANT idea. Just by trying to explain to everyone my problem with my title, I actually got unblocked! I don't think I came up with any great titles (I wrote down about 12), but they were in a totally different direction than previous titles, so that's good.

No, that's GREAT.

Steve, I like what you say about working out your "writing muscles." I'll be back!

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Thanks for helping get things started!
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Janeen, I forgot to say Welcome. Welcome!

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Julius Roberts

(North Port, Florida USA)

Hello to all,

My name is Julius and I have always wished to write, or wait a minute, I have always loved a good story! That's better! Anyway recently I have been investigating the internet and what it has to offer me as a dabbling writer/salesman/entrepreneur/Story Lover.

What I have been through is a couple of years learning that a lot of folks make a living preying on people like me. Now my first instinct was "I want to do that". Then after some self awareness I realized that is not my true goal. Somehow I believe that my life's journey may be of use to someone and I would like to make a difference in that person's life. So my desire is to write for those that may need encouragement at the same time satisfying my insatiable desire to tell stories.

When I refer to stories I really mean talk to folks. To me every time one chooses to speak we should attempt to paint a picture. In essence a story! My "stories" need to be refined. That is why I am here. To hopefully find some guidance that does not require my credit card number every other day. You see, this is new territory for me as well. As I have told these stories for the better part of my life I have never written anything down. I actually praised myself for being capable of accomplishing things mostly from memory. Never needing to pull up a file or look up a customer. Just doing it. But now as I look back I realize that what was missing is the document, the proof of what I have done or not done.

I say this because I have older children and younger children. My older kids were there through the struggles and my younger ones have no clue. The other day I was talking lawn mowers with my 9 year old son and we get to talking about metal. So I tell him about the time when Dad used to scrap metal to pay bills. Which leads to all sorts of questions about prices of metal and where do you get it and why do people pay for junk and where do you sell it. I immediately thought to myself "he was not there". I know it's obvious now but at the time I never really thought about the fact that most of my life was without him. I had years of stories that I wanted nothing more than to fill my little man's head with. I desired him to learn from my experience. What to do, I now had a reason to share my journey of life. A reason to write it down.

So as not to go on forever I am here to create some writing habits to be proud of. Anyone experienced that would like to shed light on the road to writing please respond. I need help with sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and the like. I am sure it is obvious in this post.

I would like to wish a pleasant day to all and look forward to corresponding.



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Trying not to prey
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Julius, welcome. I hope you'll consider weighing in on one of the writer's block problems others have posted. Feel free to post your own as well.

Hey, I don't think the web is ALL about preying on people! I like to think I'm not preying on people here. Correct me if I'm wrong. ;-)

It's possible to just create a site for lots of people to visit, and make a little money off of advertising, which is most of what I do here.

If you want to "write for those that may need encouragement" while "satisfying [your] insatiable desire to tell stories," the web is the perfect place to do it and find an audience for it. Drop me a line if you want some guidance on how to get it done.

And welcome!

The prey That Be
by: Julius Roberts


I do not see, nor do I feel the preying eyes upon me as I begin the journey of discovery of your site. In fact what I seem to feel right away is the passion that has been placed on each page I read. Which as my training suggests (passion) is transferable.

When I first became interested in the web SBI was one of the places I considered. Unfortunately I went with another company to help me find my niche. Well, lo and behold it has yet to occur. Two years of trying this and search engine that and I have what would amount to a pocket full of change whilst my dollars have somehow disappeared. I have became wiser in this experience as it is important to take something from every situation. But I feel that I am missing the boat so to say.

Any suggestions will certainly be welcome.

My direct problem is where to start? What passion to pass on and share? The Niche?

Thank you for building this site as it is truly encouraging!

Keep up the good work! I always find it inspiring when I happen across someone doing what they love!

Thank You

SBI truly rocks
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Julius, I couldn't be happier that I stumbled across SBI. I was luckier than you; I only put about 2 months into a failed site before discovering SBI.

Now I have over 1000 pages on the web and receive about 100,000 page views on this site alone per month. Rock on!

I'd be glad to listen if you want to talk niches. You should know this about about SBI though...

The initial part of the SBI process has you compare three possible niches you could be interested in. Then it walks you through the keyword research so you can figure out which has the best potential.

If, as I believe you just said, you have a number of passions, this'd be right up your alley!

You researched SBI awhile ago, but you might take a fresh look at it now, knowing what you know. Applied diligently, it works in a big way!

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Glenda, the not so good witch of North Hollywood

(North Hollywood, CA)

Hi. I'm an aspiring children's book author (with no children to read to).


I enjoy this site's spirit and hope this forum really turns into something. How about we all start spreading the word!

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What color are your slippers?
by: Steve B. (webmaster)


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Lindsay K.

(Kansas City, MO)

I'm a mother of two who are getting closer and closer to leaving the nest. Finding a job these days seems impossible, so I'm concentrating on my writing. Who knows? If it works out, maybe I won't need a job!

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by: Barb

Hi there,
If you have a children's book (middle grade or young adult) you may want to enter it in literary agent Mary Kole's contest. The link to the contest is Even if you aren't ready to enter the contest, her site offers tons of advice for new writers.

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Comedian Marvin Lee

(Writer and Illustrator Too)

Marvin Lee, Comedian

Marvin Lee, Comedian

Hello all,

I'm a professional stand-up comedian by trade but I've been thinking about working on my first children's book. I'm thinking that my writing skills as a comic will help me but more importantly I'm a very good illustrator and graphic artist. (I consider myself more of an illustrator than a graphic artist since I can make art WITHOUT the need of a computer.)

I figure most people here want to write because they love kids. Not me. I have two crumb snatchers of my own and I'm starting to like them now that they are starting to become interesting. (Baby's are just Sooooo boring to me. Just little balls of bodily fluids, ready to squirt, drip, leak and throw up all over you.)

My point is.

I never wanted kids.
I never asked for kids.
I wasn't equipped to deal with kids.
I couldn't afford kids.

and after a conspiracy of the all the women in my family... I got kids.

My point is I figure there is a market for the type of books I have in my mind where they are meant for kids but they have some underlying innuendo that will keep the parents interested or at least go "I've been there brother."

I'm working on two titles now:

Daddy and the Claw (Or just The Claw.)


"Bad Daddy!" "Which is what my daughter says to me as she rats me out to her mother.

If anyone is interested in a illustrator or just curious about me as a professional comedian please visit Comedian Marvin Lee.

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Welcome, funny guy
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Marvin, good to have you. And yes, I think there's plenty of room for picture books that speak to parents too. In fact, since you rarely see 3 year olds purchasing their own books, I think you'll find books on the market that go TOO far in trying to entertain parents over kids.

Take for instance the huge hit, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. I don't know many toddlers who know what going on strike means, but here's a comedy book about labor relations between a farmer and his cows.

It's always struck me as a book meant to keep the grown-up reader from nodding off more than anything. Still, Ms. Cronin is doing pretty well for herself. (See the even huger hit, Diary of a Worm.)

Hey, if you're serious about wanting to post as an illustrator, here's the place to do it. It's free and well-trafficked.


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Brian W. Martin

(Maple Grove, MN, U.S.A)




My name is Brian and I am just beginning to write and illustrate children's books. I am 26 and I've been told since I was very young that I should be doing this because of my detail oriented illustrations. My only problem is that I've never been much of a writer or to be honest I guess I've never really tried so I don't know if I am or not. I stumbled on this website and It seems like it could be a great resource for me.

I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm certain that you'll be hearing from me again :)

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Good to have you!
by: Steve B. (webmaster)


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My name is Lisa.

I have had a book in my head for years. And I finally wrote it down. I want to write children's books. so my picture book is an ABC book on the Bible. On each page is A is for followed by a word and a Bible verse. My artist friend is in the process of illustrating it. I just want to see if people will buy it and if not, then i can always read it to my children. I think I have written 5 ABC books on the Bible so far. I have a Book on Moses, Jesus and Joseph's life.

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Kristy Rowbotham

I just wanted to introduce myself. I have several childrens' book "manuscripts" that I would ideally like to get published. However, I am at a loss as to the next step I need to take in this process, and am open to feedback.



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by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Kristy, welcome!

It won't get you published, but the first step I'd take is taking that word "manuscripts" out of quotes when talking about them. They either are or they aren't manuscripts!

Getting published is harder than ever. A GREAT overview of the business is provided by Harold Underdown in his insultingly titled Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books (reviewed on this site).

On the other hand, SELF publishing is EASIER than ever.

Nobody can offer any real advice as to a next step in the process since they don't know anything about your manuscripts. Are they professional quality? What are they about? What age are they written for? How might they be pitched?

(One of the services this site offers is professional critiquing.)

Here's wishing you many steps forward!

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Jennifer DeNivo

(New York)

Hi! I just published my first children's book! It's called "Sneaky Sam" by Jennifer DeNivo. I am trying to spread the word about it, but I am unsure how to get it out there. Any advice?

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book promotion for self-publishers
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Jennifer, welcome!

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Grandma Brosie

by Barbara
(Elmira, NY, USA)

My name is Barbara aka Grandma Brosie. I'm a beginning writer and want to read the forum and be able to participate in it.

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Hello, my name is Barbara

by Barbara
(Elmira, NY, USA)

and I've started writing. Descriptive essays are something that I really enjoy.

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Second World by R.M. Wagoner

Second World by R.M. Wagoner

Hi Everyone,
I'm currently not facing writer's block, but I have in the past. For me, writer's block occurs when I allow the fear of failing/over analyzing my writing overtake my ability to move forward. We have to reach a point where we love what comes out more than the desire to please others. That is when, I believe great writing is produced.

Thanks and Good Luck,

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Reed Guymon

by Reed Guymon, Kevin Utter, Ned Shelley
(Ogden, Utah,;Sunset, Utah; Fort Collins, Colorado)

I have made a free web site for parents to look at two of my books. Herbert The Happy Hare (copyright 1982,2010,2010 Guymon,Utter,Shelley) has been received very well by children - wanting it read and played over and over. One Spooky Night (copyright 1982,2011,2011) has the story line too too drawn out. I need to fix it.

Both children's songs are fun ones for children (Kevin and I recorded them in 1984 very quickly on a cassette tape - it's just me singing, so it is not professional. But,the children don't know).
If you would like to look, then go to:

Guymon Books.

I will appreciate any comments and help. If I can help anyone, I'll be glad to. I seem to be able to come up with melodies and songs, if you need one for free.

Reed Guymon

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Lisa Lewis

(Newark, Ohio )

Hi, my name Lisa Lewis, and I am 47 years old. I got married 4 years ago, and I have 2 kids from my first husband, and I have 4 terrific grandsons, one of whom I am raising since he was born.

I love my family, and that's all that matters to me.

I would like to fulfill one dream i had, which was to write a book. I hope I can do a good enough job to get it published and help pay the bills.

Thank you very much,


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